A degree in general studies is a great way to build a broad knowledge base and can be used as a foundation for many careers and graduate school programs. Students can use the wide variety of skills and knowledge acquired throughout their course of study to market their experience to fit a variety of needs in today’s economy. With varied courses in many disciplines, the general studies program provides a unique opportunity to address many needs of organizations across industries, including government, healthcare, business, finance, and many more.
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
A degree in General Studies offers broad knowledge from varying courses in many disciplines. Use the O*Net hyperlinks below and click on “Job Zone.”
As with all majors, the education you receive serves as a foundation of knowledge that prepares you for what you may face in the professional world. The career field you chose may require additional education or experience.
Fire investigators review scenes and collect evidence in order to determine the cause of fires or explosions.
How to Become a Fire Investigator
Get Educated: Most fire investigators require a minimum of a high school diploma, though applicants possessing a two- or four-year degree in fields such as fire science are preferred.
Get Certified: Many employers prefer that fire investigators either be certified or in the process of obtaining their certification. In addition to the fire investigator specific certifications below, applicants interested in working for private companies will usually be required to have a private investigation license. Among the most common certifications are:
Gain Experience: Fire investigators usually undergo both further classroom training as well as on the job training at police or fire stations in order to further learn the position.
Get Connected: Join networking sites like LinkedIn to connect with professionals working in the industry, stay up-to-date on what subjects are popular to research, join professional organizations, and read literary publications.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/fire-inspectors-and-investigators.htm
Gaining real-life experience is an ideal way to start a new career. The career services website has an extensive list of internships and fellowships. Browse through the internships - they are organized by interest or by federal program - and use the list below to find a few examples of organizations that offer internships for undergraduate general studies students:
In addition, there are government-organized internship programs which provide students or recent graduates the opportunity to gain real-life experience. Many require students to maintain either a half-time or full-time student status. The best ways to identify potential opportunities such as these is to contact branch offices directly, to search USAJobs.gov, or to look at the agencies’ career portals. Keep in mind that these positions are not always posted online, so direct contact with the agency is key.
The Pathways Program is a federal initiative that offers internship programs for current students and training and career development opportunities for recent graduates. Recent graduates must apply within two years of degree or certificate completion (except for veterans, due to their military service obligation, will have up to six years to apply).The internship program for current students replaces the former Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP).
The Presidential Management Fellows Program (PMF)
PMF is designed to attract to federal service outstanding men and women from a wide variety of academic disciplines who have a clear interest in, and commitment to, a career in the analysis and management of public policies and programs. To be eligible for nomination, an individual must be a graduate student completing or expected to complete, during the current academic year, an advanced degree from a qualifying college or university.
The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP)
WRP is coordinated by the Office of Disability Employment Policy and the U.S. Department of Defense, and aims to provide summer work experience, and in some cases full-time employment, to college students with disabilities. The program develops partnerships with other federal agencies, each of whom makes a commitment to provide summer jobs and a staff recruiter. Each year, recruiters interview about 1,500 students with disabilities at college and university campuses across the nation, and develop a database listing the qualifications of each student.
There are several government agencies and organizations that seek candidates with degrees in general studies. The below list provides a few example places one might find employment using their degree.
Your general studies degree puts you at an advantage; unlike someone that has been trained in one specific area, your training has prepared you for a wider range employment possibilities. While this doesn’t mean that you should cast a wide net, it does allow you to target a few different industries. Your passion is what will sell your experience to employers, so you want to be sure that you target the key areas in which you are most interested.
Your resume should be targeted to the position for which you are applying, showcasing how your general studies degree provided you with well-rounded, transferable skills. In your cover letter, go into more detail about specific projects or a set of skills that that make you stand out among the crowd. To further impress a potential employer, start gathering your superior projects and papers while still in school, creating a portfolio that showcases your work.
The university has several social media pages for their degree programs. If you're interested in a particular professional area, connect via social media with that degree program, or with several degree programs.